Harrogate Climate Action Festival hailed as Bettys & Taylors shows the way to carbon neutral future for business world

Organisers say Harrogate's first-ever Climate Action Festival has been embraced by the business world in the move to sustainable practices - with Bettys & Taylors one of the local firms showing the way to carbon neutral future for business world.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 10:43 am
The green home of Yorkshire Tea - Bettys & Taylors headquarters are powered by gas and electricity from 100% renewable sources.

Kirsty Hallett, one of a large team of volunteer organisers from Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition behind the new festival, said: "It was fantastic to see the high level of commitment shown by many local business leaders.

"The Climate Action Festival helped Harrogate businesses to find sources of support for meaningful target setting and measurement of emissions reduction across their supply chains.

"In particular, business to business engagement and information sharing relevant to workplaces was during the Net Zero Business Conference."

Held in the run-up to the COP26 summit which starts in Glasgow this Sunday, October 31 and will aim to bring the world's governments together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Net Zero Business Conference has been hailed as one of the Climate Action Festival's biggest success stories.

Among the wide range of local businesses giving keynotes speeches at the Net Zero Business Conference held at Harrogate Convention Centre was Bettys & Taylors.

Making the presentation on behalf of one of the town’s most respected and successful companies was Group Head of Energy and Environment, Colin Robertson.

Focussing on Bettys & Taylors journey to becoming a Carbon Neutral business and lessons learned, Mr Robertson told the audience how “proud” the local company was “to say that our Harrogate headquarters are powered by gas and electricity from 100% renewable sources.

“We buy energy from wind, solar and biomass, but we never buy power from coal fired power stations, and we try to limit our consumption using intelligent technologies.”

He told the audience that among the most significant steps taken by the independent family-owned company were:

Achieving certified carbon neutral products status for the making of all its tea and coffee

Generating 387,000 kWh of energy from its solar panels

Installing a large biomass boiler

Building a green supply chain in trucks and more

Bettys & Taylors has prided itself on setting the standard in sustainability for a decade or more, bringing best practice to each part of its business in turn.

It recognised sooner than most the impact its own actions were having on carbon emissions and climate change - and it set out to tackle the carbon footprint resulting from making tea and coffee.

Sustainable action taken by Bettys & Taylors

(in its own words)

Reducing our carbon footprint

Making tea and coffee clearly has a carbon footprint. It’s shipped around the world, it contributes to agricultural activities that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and it’s packaged in materials derived from industrial processes.

All of which means that we are contributing to climate change.

To combat this, in 2015 we set about becoming carbon neutral – not just our business operations but our entire supply chain from tea and coffee bush to supermarket shelf, achieving certified carbon neutral products status well ahead of our 2020 target.

In our tea and coffee supply chain we work with certification partners, such as the Rainforest Alliance, to help improve environmental standards, and at an industry level we're championing climate change adaptation techniques, ensuring farmers are better placed to face the effects of global warming.

Solar energy

We make good use of the resources we’re exposed to and have installed big sets of solar panels on our factory roofs.

Combined — our solar panels will generate a whopping 387,000 kWh of energy.

That’s the same amount of energy needed to run around 80 UK households per year and quite an achievement, when you consider the unpredictable nature of our infamous British weather.

Intelligent Design

All of our new on-site development follows the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment (BREEAM) method.

This special design philosophy is meant to put environmental consideration at the forefront of design, and it has encouraged us to implement some really forward-thinking elements.

We built huge windows and skylights into our factory so that we can cut down on the need for electric lighting.

We’ve also installed a large biomass boiler - so that we can burn FSC-certified wood chips to heat our factory.

Technological solutions that can reduce our footprint

As a modern business, we always look to technological solutions where we can. BEMS is one such clever innovation that we use.

BEMS stands for Building Energy Management System, and it’s all about being smarter about energy use.

BEMS allows our property team to control the hours and conditions in which heating, cooling and lighting systems operate.

This really helps to minimise energy consumption by making sure that gas and electricity are only being used when they’re required.

Building a green supply chain

We also use modern technology to reduce emissions in our supply chain.

Every day, trucks haul tonnes of tea and coffee across the country, and burn quite a lot of fuel in the process.

We want to make sure that our trucks operate as efficiently as they possibly can, which is why we use ultra-modern vehicles with engines that are designed to maximise fuel economy, and cut down on harmful emissions.

We also take care to maintain our vehicles, and use ADBLUE to reduce nitrous oxide emissions across our fleet.

We have equipped all of our vehicles with on-board telematics that allow us to monitor fuel consumption.